Hepatitis A is a liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus. Unhygienic activities are the main cause of hepatitis A infection. You can contract the virus by consuming food or drink contaminated by fecal material from an infected person who maintains poor personal hygiene, taking part in sexual activities that involves oral-anal contact or coming in contact with blood of an infected person.
Hepatitis A is the least serious of the hepatitis virus infections (hepatitis B and hepatitis C), and manifests with symptoms including fatigue, loss of appetite, vomiting, nausea, jaundice, passing dark urine and pale stool, itching and mild fever.
Diagnosis involves a physical examination, which shows an enlarged and tender liver. Your doctor may order blood tests to confirm the diagnosis.
There is no specific treatment for the infection. Your immune system fights against the infection and destroys the virus in its own time. However, treatment is focused on relieving your symptoms. Your doctor will advise plenty of rest to cope with tiredness or sickness, eating small meals several times a day to combat nausea, and avoiding alcohol, fatty foods and certain medicines.
Hepatitis A can be easily prevented by maintaining appropriate hygienic practices – washing your hands before eating and after using the toilet, washing fruits and vegetables well, and getting vaccinated.